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So, I didn’t run after last Monday until Saturday. Yeah, ’cause I’m all about regularity and routine, eh?

Saturday, I ran with LMNOB while she was pushing Lil Guy in the stroller. LMNOB did not last long with running and so she walked while I would run ahead and run back to her. I did that for 23 minutes, which was a new record in recent history!

Yesterday, I went with a friend from church, who is a high school cross country coach (read: in much better shape, faster, smaller, etc. etc. than me) to the university track and ran a bit with her. I ran a 1000 meter with her (totally kicked my butt!) and then did 5 laps that alternated between running and walking. I was kind of perturbed at myself and my lack of endurance to just run straight like I had on Saturday, but gave myself some slack in the end and was just glad that I got out and did something.

Now…ya’ll might be wondering what is my obsession with running…. While I was so sick I told God in a prayer that I wanted to get better, that I wanted my body to reflect His glory and healing powers. So what better than to take a person who virtually had no lung capacity and make them run mere months after such an ordeal? Not only that, but 5 years ago, I began running and it was such a thing of spiritual growth for me. Can’t really explain it, but running and praying to God cast a new light on what relying on Him truly meant. After that initial year of running, I began to trickle out of it and would run only sporadically. My spiritual life kind of went through the same spurts and stagnants cycle as my running. And after being so ill and seeing my mortality with such clarity, let’s just say that I don’t want to become stagnant in my faith again.

So there’s a 5k this Saturday….and I’m registered for it. So I’ve been getting even more serious about running as I need to train.

My goal was to run every day this week.

This morning it was gray and drizzly.

No matter, I’ll get a hat and wear a jacket. I’ll bundle the baby up good and warm.

And so I did. Got the older two off to the bus stop and set about my way at 8:20 this morning.

I walked for 6 minutes to warm up then started jogging and ran about a mile in 12 minutes. That’s about right for me. Stopped to cross the street and continued to walk for about 4 minutes. Then I started running again, but only lasted for 4 minutes. 4 minutes, what the heck?! And I began to think of the cross, and everything that Jesus had to endure in his last hours on earth. Surely I could do better than 4 minutes. I walked for 5 minutes, visualizing the cross the whole time. Then I started to run again…..6 minutes this time, but to be fair it was all uphill! I walked for several more minutes again noting that I would run on the walking trail when I got to it. I got to it and ran, and finally it clicked. Another mile + down in 13 minutes. I thanked God and looked up. The giant clouds that had been raining over me had split and suddenly half the sky was blue and clear. A nice “thumbs up” from God, it seemed, and my heart soared with gratitude for the affirmation.

I will finish that 5k on Saturday. With God’s help and example, I will persevere.

Acts 20:24 – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I really need a shower.

© 2009 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

I said I was going to do this a few weeks back….but uh, life’s been busy, please forgive!

When we first bought our home, it was Winter, 2004.

Our house was completed in Summer, 2003 but no one had occupied it before us.

The front had been landscaped, but part of the beauty of a new construction home was that we got to do ALL of the backyard landscaping.

We were pretty broke, but a bonus here and a tax return there was how we got our yard landscaped. We did everything ourselves. Erm….Charlie Brown did all the work while I sat and watched, oohing and ahhing at his prowess at things like installing a sprinkler system, setting fence posts, laying a paved patio, and digging and planting. I had little ones to keep out of the way, right? Charlie Brown’s mom and dad helped out, buying us some of our very first plants for our anniversary that year; some shrubs, our willow tree (a Home Depot clearance item at a whopping $10!) and our crabapple tree.

Late in the summer of 2004, this is what our backyard looked like:

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Our front yard looked like this:

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As of Saturday night, it was time to compare and see just what 4 years has done:

From the front (with my beautiful planter boxes):

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The back is more dramatic though….

Remember that puny little willow tree? (if not, scroll back up before scrolling down)

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Charlie Brown is scared that it is going to eat us.

We now have mulch in the beds, accumulated more shrubs, a canopy over the patio with yard lights – making for many a midsummer night’s dreams – and our fence is up:

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Porter puppy knocked that chair over, please don’t mind.

We have rose bushes – this one, a Claire Austin I believe, was planted last year:

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And Catalina was just planted this year, alongside Pat Austin – who had no blooms for show at time of shooting:

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Our wildflowers, along the other side of the drive way, have come back quite thick – this is their 3rd season:

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I love my gardens – they have become our sanctuary!

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

It’s Friday.

It’s Date Night.

It’s WARM, finally spring has made an entrance in Colorado.

So I am going to get all Virile Va-freaking-Voom Vixen, right! now! and hope that is the perfect storm, :wink:.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

I’ve been trying and trying to think about what to write lately, and it boils down to the same old shadowboxing that I tend to do….

Some examples of the things I could have written about recently, but ended up arguing both sides so successfully that I wrote nothing instead:

Do I want to write about a petty argument with an internet chick that has bothered me a lot?

No, because 1.) that would be gossiping and I would likely turn judgmental, insomuch that I would then become the type of person which I hate, and 2.) it would mean that I actually care what this person thinks of me…real or perceived. I’m above that, right? Not really. Heather is still quite insecure about the things that matter most, despite a bold, confident facade.

Do I yearn to write about some delicate family of origin stuff, multiple instances?

Yes, because as much as I am happy for the one instance, I am also cautious and wish to seek balance between these two mindsets. This being my therapeutic outlet where better to sort through this myriad of feelings? Yes, for the second instance because it is freaking stranger than fiction, and I am waiting for somebody in my family to appear on Jerry Springer any day. But then….as much as it might be cathartic for me to get out, share, explore and/or poke fun of (sarcasm is my most primal coping mechanism) I’m not blogging it because I don’t wish to cause hurt feelings as much of my writing regarding the FOO has tended to do…we do not have the same kind of understanding as Charlie Brown and I do in this arena.

Which, hey, I have to give Charlie Brown serious props, as he is an amazingly secure guy to let me air our dirty laundry as I have on here, and HONEY, I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU!!!

Do I want to write about how the brain fog has descended upon me once again, how I’m having trouble coordinating my tongue with my thoughts, how I’m forgetting things, procrastinating in a way that is wildly different than my normally uber responsible self? How it really freaking bugs me when I get like this because I lose my wit and humor a la that one episode of Seinfeld where George comes up with his snarky comebacks DAYS later? I’m sharp as a tack, or can be, so where the hell did that sharpness go?

Yes, I do want to write about it. But the right words just don’t come with precision – I want to capture it, and be heard with piercing clarity, and yet my thoughts on this state of mind I am in remain gray, fuzzy, difficult to communicate. Nor do they come with alacrity, readily available for my quick dispatch to the internet that this is IT, EXACTLY, that I’m going through and now please send validation, thankyouverymuch. And then, hell no, I don’t want to write about it, because for once damn it, I want to be non-struggling! I want to be free and definitive in who I am, safe and secure, but mostly, content. I have a restless spirit….so much so that I sit here in awe that I’ve remained faithful, that Charlie Brown and I are staring down the barrel of double digits in marriage, that I haven’t just bailed ship and said, “Onto the next great adventure.” Sometimes I wonder if I am just by nature an unhappy person. Other times I realize that an unhappy person is usually quite content to be the Eeyore of their group. I am not. And that makes sharing about these depressive struggles of mine so difficult with people face to face. But here, here I can write about it. Even if I don’t want to because when I return to this place I think in supposed to’s and should not’s, i.e. you shouldn’t be here, again, you’re supposed to be getting better with this. Well….I guess I did write something of substance here, after all, even if paradoxical substance.

Do I want to write about how ironic it is that some people take me as narcissistic because I write about my achievements, yet if they truly knew me they would know that it is not boasting?

Point: Yes. It’s true that I have a category that claims its contents are bragging rights, but see above re: sarcasm. Anyone who knows me knows that I am much too insecure to be that serious about myself, lol. Finally, I have to remind myself everyday that despite what the world, my neurotransmitters, etc are telling me that I am changing. My family legacy, my community, myself. Without these little reminders, I would lose this “good race” that I am running. Counterpoint: No. For what in hell do I need to prove myself to some small-minded person who knows jack about me? I have a close relationship with my Lord, a deep faith – often pressure cooked and seasoned with doubts, but a rich and satisfying faith at the end of the day – that tells me I am doing what My Creator put me here for.

Do I want to write about the shitty e-mail I got last week from one of the nighttime dudes for the inclement weather shelter? Or how his subsequent phone call was an un-apology and a condescending, patriarchal, “let-me-put-you-in-your-right-proper-place-young-lady” lecture about how *I* had to be careful with my words when he’d ACTUALLY written words as offensive as “Maybe you ought to try yoga or deep breathing” whereas my communication glitch was more a perception problem than actual mal-intent.

Yes. I want to give ya’ll the blow-by-blow, dissect every little statement and nuance in this man with a hero-delusion’s e-mail. But, no, I’m a bigger woman than that man could ever give me credit for. I rest assured on the words of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich…make no mistake, I am not out to create a name for myself, rather I wish to advance change for the quality of lives of others. And sitting around, bowing down to men who don’t uphold their community pledges (to provide shelter to the homeless when it is x degrees out) isn’t exactly going to do that. Asking pointed questions about the damned elephants in the room and keeping people accountable will…eventually. Right?

Do I want to write about how the unbloggable scholarly excitement has turned out to be mere manipulation by an academic hoping to eke out some additional cash prior to retiring? How he used me and two other graduate students to expand upon his initial proposal to the university for an encore class, brand the class with a catchy title, and then market this proposal to the university administraters, all on the now-farcical premise that he would, of course, ask that we be hired to help him facilitate the class?

Hell yes, I do want to write about it. I want to shred this professor into mincemeat. This one had me mad, in my white-trash upbringing kind of mad….which was kind of funny when I was conversing with my lily-white always-had-been-upper-middle-class colleague, who was equally pissed, but with much more decorum. Alas, I fear that such a post could be construed as slander given no written agreements were ever formally drawn up. Hello, my name is Heather Meyer and I’ve been totally punked by a professor. Never again. I am also curious if he gave the drawings our class developed together proper credit when he used them to lecture at DePaul U this spring? I know he used them at least because he’d e-mailed me about getting them in a more user friendly format prior to the class shiz hitting the fan.

Internets, I can’t make this stuff up. Why is it that things just pile up on me like this?

Anywho’s bro is here now and I must get to properly entertaining, er feeding, him. Love that guy, I do.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Ok – so the mysterious AOL reader contacted me via e-mail today.

She’s legit – not a local advocate that was building a case against me based on my ventings here, as I’d feared (and for good reason too – but can’t get into that here…not censoring, readers, just covering my butt and keeping my day job!) – but an ordinary mommyblog reader. And I’m so totally ok with it – I myself have done the same thing when I’ve found bloggers I liked, I’ve gone thru their archives and gotten to “know” them better.

Phew….I loves me some internets, but I worry sometimes that people who know me IRL will punish me for what is in cyberspace…aside from my family of origin that is. I just take it as a given that they will punish me, lol. I’m misunderstood by them a lot.

So yeah, I’m starting to get a following – which makes me think that perhaps someday the dream will be realized?

And this following isn’t just for my writing.

Remember last spring when CU-Denver interviewed me for a poster child piece in the SPA magazine? Well, they still haven’t just posted , the mag to their website – but until yesterday I hadn’t gotten a hard copy, thus, it was kind of out of sight, out of mind.

Somebody had said something to me about it in “passing” in my online class this fall – but me being me, I was just like, “Oh, yeah…cool.” When I fell behind on an assignment, I let the prof know, and he was all, “That’s ok, I know you’re not a slacker.” How could he know that? I wondered.

It wasn’t until later, when everyone flocked to me after I put a request for a partner out there re: the suicide paper – that it finally started to click…aha! LOL….I’m pretty smart, but when it comes to self-recognition sometimes I am very, extremely s.l.o.w… Again, I let it go to the back burner – I mean 15 minutes of fame and all, right?

Until last week when a woman who used to work for a local non-profit contacted me via e-mail.

Hey Heather,
I’ve been considering the MPA program at CU-Denver and saw you as one of the profiled students in their magazine. Can we meet so that I can pick your brain about the program?.

I told her, yes, of course I would love to chat with her – and when we met up, I gushed about the program. She and I are exactly the same age – something I hadn’t realized before – and very likeminded about wanting to do good, but realizing the system is very, very broken, and thus, people like us need to get smarter, more credible, and then set about eliminating barriers. That’s the goal anyway – no delusions of grandeur here – I know that it will be complicated, and that my youth and gender are working against me, rather than for me – but hey, challenge is my middle name, right?

Isolated incident, right?

No.

Yesterday I drove up to Denver to see what the folks at the Bell Policy Center had to say about the fiscal forecast for the Colorado State Budget. You see, we’ve only slightly screwed it up with 6% growth caps, TABOR, Amendment 23, and other legislative mandates that make the state budget extremely difficult to balance.

Upon arriving, I noticed a woman who looked REALLY familiar – but I couldn’t quite place her. She was talking to the SPA rep sponsoring the presentation. She wasn’t a student, but was interested in the domestic violence concentration for the MPA program, she currently worked in womens health. When she finished with him, I introduced myself, noting that I worked for the City of Loveland.

“Oh! I live in Berthoud!”

And at that, all the memory synapses in my brain fired. Rapidly.

“That’s where I know you from! You work for the Coalition right? Doing a, uh, rural women’s health initiative, right? You came to a Northern Front Range Continuum of Care meeting about a year, year and a half ago. I KNEW you looked familiar!”

She seriously dropped her jaw. “Damn, you have an EXCELLENT memory! Holy crap, I am impressed.”

Then, “Hey, wait a minute – Heather Meyer? Aren’t you in…” she pointed to a hard copy of Views. (p. 22 – and ew, yuck, gross, I hate that picture of me – thanks for asking!)

“I think so – I haven’t actually seen it yet. It was the funniest thing, you know…” as I did my thing, trying to downplay the whole deal.

The presentation was about to start. “Well, with you in my back yard, I might just call you sometime to pick your brain.”

Hmmm….should I be charging a recruiting fee?

After the presentation, I went up to some of the staff and faculty who were there. I offered my hand and said, “Heather Meyer, I’m in the MPA program,” and I got, “Hi…” then a lightbulb look, “Oh, yes, of course! How are you?”

And that was just weird – like I’m some sort of celebrity or something, lol. You know, OF COURSE! Of course you are Heather Meyer, and of course that name means something to me!

It is surreal to watch one’s status as a person change quite like this…like a book I read last semester called the Tipping Point.

I’m so textbook.

Jason called this afternoon.

He’s still in Denver, still doing his in-patient program.

He called as he found my number and wanted to let me know how much our interactions meant to him – how hitting bottom that second day we’d known each other really has helped him in his recovery.

I told him I was glad that it had worked out that way – that he’d been in our prayers regularly since having met him.

He thanked me, and told me that he would always remember us and would try to pay it forward and keep it real with people he met in life.

And that, friends, made my day.

Also made me think about a line from Toby Mac’s Diverse City:

We ’bout to do this thing for real
Diverse City got mass appeal
So put your hand in the hand of mine
And we’ll spread this love like dandelions

I went to the school’s online site for final grades for, oh, probably the zillionth time this week, even though, technically, grades were not due from professors until yesterday.

And behold! The gods of Impatience and Anxiety heard my pleas – Grades were posted!

Policy and the Public Process…………………….B+ = 9.90 GPA points
Updated: Apparently we do not round up in graduate school grading…I got an 89.8%, and a 90% is an A-. 0.2%age points!!! Ok, I’m over it.

Managing Conflict and Change…………………….B+ = 9.90 GPA points

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Bringing my once illustrious 3.9 cumulative GPA down to a mere 3.66.

So, if a B is not for bad, does it hold that a B+ is not for SuperBad?

Truly, I kid. Truly!

Seriously ya’ll, I know that I am skimming political treatises with expert eyes, serving the public with rarely found diplomacy and compassion, meeting special needs and just “normal” ones of my family, and more.

:cue the trumpets: I am SUPERWOMAN.

The fact that I’m doing all of it is huge in itself – why diminish it with lofty expectations (read: and thus the unsurprising failure to reach) of perfection?

Not to mention that I dealt with extended sickness, craziness at work, and one whack-job of a partner on a final project this semester – and I am feeling A-OK with my B +s.

Seems as if the real life slightly outweighs the academic life.

And, while I may have made B+s on my grades, I got “Exceeds Expectations” on 3 out of 4 categories on my performance eval at work – translating to a 4% raise!

I feel like I have been put thru the wringer, but by golly, the Fall 2007 semester is

O.V.E.R.
And guess what?
Because I was waived for the internship requirement, because of my work history, I am HALFWAY done with my MPA already!!!

OMGoodness!

As of 4:00 today, I had spent 20 of the previous 26 hours working on this paper.

As in, I started working on it at 2:00pm yesterday, went to bed at 2:30am, woke up at 9 (which felt like bliss, compared to the 5 hours I’ve been living on each night recently).

I just got into that “I’m on a roll” mode, (oh and not to mention, holy crap this sucker is due SOON and one of our trio is inexplicably AWOL mode)that means, yes, I probably am a workaholic. There are worse things, right? Besides, tonight, I totally spent quality sing-song time with LMNOB – balance, baby, balance. What is Hammy without a feeble attempt at rationalization?

Today, the drama escalated as AWOL partner jumped back in with, “I sure wish you’d commented on my draft earlier – now it looks like there is nothing I can do but accept your heaping pile of edits.” Ok, so I made the heaping pile up – but I do believe the word “extensive” got thrown out. Same diff, right?

Well, hon, lemme tell you – I would have, had you turned your draft in ON TIME WITH OUR PREVIOUSLY AGREED TO DEADLINE.

Buuuuuuuut since she didn’t until yesterday morning, while I was AT WORK – uhm, hello, so sorry Boss, I have to go read AWOL partner’s paper that just magically appeared in my inbox. I just didn’t get to it until last night.
But, suffice to say….it got worse.

And the professor got involved.

And I’m in the middle.

And now, I just don’t care if she rides our coattails and totally gets a rocking grade because of me and my other partner’s contributions. I am ok with her getting a grade she doesn’t deserve, that’s grace, right?

What if I am still really perturbed though, that she doesn’t get that if you write “blah, blah, blah, (name, year),” you HAVE to include a full bibliographic reference, more than (name, year) in the Bibliography section. Especially because I feel that it is just a little MUCH to have to hold your fellow GRADUATE student’s hand in that regard and give her a play by play of what you are asking for.

Is it still grace?

Albeit begrudgingly offered?

Whatever….I’ve got peace of mind that we are now on our 5th edit and it should be the keeper – all we need are the two references that AWOL partner has neglected to disseminate.

Play Maroon 5…

Loudly.

Not really a love relationship that is (:sing it!:)

“Taking its toll.

On me.”

But an unrequited partnership is.

A 3 way relationship even…

Rife with “she saids,” the unrequited third of this collaboration has me just hoping a particular “She said goodbye…” will eventually come true.

Hopefully the paper will be done tonight…

I'm a 30-something with a bend toward the spunky and unconventional. I like to accent big words and academics with slang and pop culture - makes me a little more well-rounded. My husband and I follow Christ and am training up my 3 precious kiddos to do the same. This means that I'm human and I fail - a LOT, but there is beauty in sharing that with others. Last, but not least, in case you haven't noticed, I'm prone to rambling. It may seem unrelated to you but the little "tangents" I go on are all interconnected in my mind!

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